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Old English gimm "precious stone, gem, jewel," also "eye," from Latin gemma "precious stone, jewel," originally "bud," perhaps from the root *gen- "to produce," or from PIE *gembh- "tooth, nail." Of persons, from late 13c. Forms in -i-, -y- were lost early 14c., and the modern form of the word probably representing a Middle English borrowing from Old French gemme (12c.). As a verb, from c.1600, "to adorn with gems;" mid-12c. as "to bud."